Category: English (page 1 of 30)

The City of the Beasts is Olympus and El Dorado in one

Isabel Allende is a well-established writer, with many highly regarded novels in her reportoire. However, City of the Beasts is not written for the crowd of usual literature-lovers, it is a tale of adventure for the young adult readers.

There are many legends about gods, and there are many legends about mythical words hidden in either the Himalayas or in the Amazon rainforest. Allende combines all these myths into athrilling story, that is also mostly written for younger readers.

City of the Beasts has three major pulls towards the book. 1. Adventure. 2. A relatable main character. And 2. Mysticism. The concept of mysticism is mostly fitted in the location, because the Amazon rainforest is an endless maze of possibilities. Unknown tribes, unknown animals, unknown dangers. All are used by Allende in a way that is completely believable, and makes you dream of adventures of your own. Travelling down the Amazon river and seeing meters long anacondas as well as swimming with dolphins is only something you can dream off.

And which child doesn’t dream at least once of going on a lifechanging adventure, finding ancient civilizations, and mastering magic? Well, the main character of City of the Beasts might seem a bit different in the beginning, but he will turn around pretty quickly. He’s just like everyone else, scared, cautious, but also really curious as he accepts that his whole life is turned upside down. His unwillingness to change in the beginning, and his perseverance in the end make him loveable and relatable. Both of which are important to a younger audience.

However, you don’t really read City of the Beasts for Alex, you read it for the pure fantasy and mysticism of an unknown world that is located right besides ours. And of course, for the monkey…
Those who enjoy Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and all other magical realism will finish this book within a day or two.

City of the Beasts
An ecological romance with a pulsing heart, equal parts Rider Haggard and Chico Buarque – one of the world’s greatest and most beloved storytellers broadens her style and reach with a Amazonian adventure story that will appeal to all ages.Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold has the chance to take the trip of a lifetime.With his mother in hospital, too ill to look after him, Alex is sent out to his grandmother Kate – a fearless reporter with blue eyes as sharp as daggers’ points’. Kate is about to embark on an expedition to the dangerous, remote world of the Amazon rainforest, but rather than change her plans, she simply takes Alex along with her.

Isabel Allende. City of the Beasts / HarperCollins / 9780007146376 

Two continents meet over one vital issue in Americanah

There are books meant to be beautiful, there are books meant to make you think, there are books meant to make you feel. Americanah combines it all in its fight against the denial of racism.

Racism is real, even in this modern day and age it’s a subject that (with a little help from social media, where you can hide behind a mask quite easily) is shown across the globe. However, it is a complex matter, different to almost all recipients. Different countries and cultures have different opinions on what is racist and what is not, and it can be quite confusing to some. Americanah touches upon the complexities of race, class, gender, and mankind in general, and how those can differ in Africa and in America.

While many countries in this world have English as either the first, or the second official language, does not mean that all English is the same. In Americanah, the concept of Nigerian English is used to discuss the differences between the United States and Nigeria. The language differs, and therefore the meaning of things. And when meanings change, concepts change, and people change. Therefore, people are different, nurtured by their background and upbringings. This difference is one of the most important aspects of Americanah, as it shows the complexity of daily aspects of life that are sometimes taken for universal truths.

This concept of difference, through either ideas, language, or other cultural aspects, is the focus of Adichie’s book. It shows that not everything is as simple as it seems, through the eyes of the outsider. Even if that outsider is connected to the subject through other ways.

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When trying to find… Focus

So I sent my manuscript to a publisher and it was rejected. Time to get some work done! On the manuscript, on the scenes that I think that can be a bit better, on… Oeh! A bird!

The problem when working on one project is focus. I have a hundred stories in my head, some half finished, some just a couple of sentences, some even less than that. They all want attention, they all want to be written, and they all tumble over each other which makes me lose focus. While I should be focusing on finishing my manuscript so I can send it out again, And then there is work, life, friends. In the end, I can barely force myself to finish this blog, which should be about the process that a writer has to go through when finishing a story. However, only around half pas 11, two days before planning to post it I can force myself to write it. Possibly because of the music currently playing.

Music is a great way to focus for me, but this must be the perfect playlist. A mix of classic rock, some soft metal in there, with the perfect amount of a suprising Sinatra-song. It can get me in the right mood and before I know it my fingers are moving on their own while typing the words that have been stuck in my head for weeks. But is this focus, or is it a short substitute? I’m afraid it might be the latter, because while this trick might work now it also has failed me many times. So what to do for the writer who has lost his/her focus and still has to finish on time? Is there a perfect way to regain the drive to work and to write? I don’t think so. It depends on the day, on the mood. What I can recommend is forgetting about chores. As soon as you get up from that chair to clean your room, you’re screwed. Once out of “the zone”, your ticket has expired for that day. And those tickets don’t come cheap…

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